Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Generations Project, Part II: The Filming

For approximately every hour we filmed The Generations Project, one minute is in the actual episode. Yes, I wish the episode could've been longer so that you could see more of what I experienced, but I guess I'm lucky enough to get one hour on national television. My dad laughed when he found out because he doesn't think all of his face time on the big screen adds up to a full hour, but maybe someone like Dana or Chelsey would like to take on that challenge of calculating it all out.
Filming was pretty much the funnest thing I've ever done besides rock climbing in the dark. I've never been an actress and avoid situations that may require any acting skills, so luckily none were needed. Hey, this is a reality show. I can handle being me and being real. But I admit I did have to act a little in the episode—you'll have to try and guess where I'm really being me and where I'm trying to be me.
As soon as Raquel and her team began researching my great-grandma Romania, I was under strict instruction not to talk to any family members about Romania and not to do any of my own investigations into her life. Deal. No deal for Grandma Elsa though. She was the one who ended up having the hardest time keeping her lips sealed. One morning I was at my parents' house, and there was a knock at the door. It was 8 a.m. When Grandma knocks she walks in and says, "Knock, knock knock." She had her arms full of books. "Oh, Lisa! Look what I've found—Romania's photo albums and her journal! Katie, come look at these with us on the couch." Raquel would've been proud because I avoided all eye contact with the photo albums and ran back downstairs, yelling up to Grandma that I wasn't allowed to look at that stuff. It was a long 5 months until filming finally began, but I don't blame Grandma in the least for literally bursting with excitement. So instead of telling me all the good news, she told her hair dresser, Nancy, the ladies she walks with in the morning, the women she volunteers with at the temple, and the man who comes to spray the outside of her house for bugs. I can't wait for you guys to meet my grandma.
Not being able to eat all the time was a definite downside to filming a TV show. Every chance I got I ate. We had to cram so many interviews and reactions and places into one day, and we were actually in such a remote location the second day of filming that the town didn't even have a grocery store or restaurant, so we suffered. The day we filmed in Honeyville we went 15 hours without food, except for the Reese's Klondike bars dear Grandma Elsa gave each of us when we left her house that morning. Beef jerky and a 100-degree bottle of Arrowhead water don't cut it when it's 5 p.m. and you know you still have about 4 more hours till you're done for the day. I'm telling you all this so you know just how much bodily sacrifice went into making this episode and give the producers and camera crew a little more respect. I could never do it like they do it, week after week, unless I had some sort of fanny pack IV.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Generations Project, Part I: The Beginning

So here's how all this craziness went down. Back in February I got a quick email from my beautiful friend Raquel, a producer for KBYU Television. She asked me, along with her other friends and family, if we had an ancestor we would like to know more about. I wrote back saying I'd like to know more about my great-grandma Romania (in the picture above, she's the woman in the middle), not really thinking too much about the question. All I knew was that she'd died at an early age of leukemia when her daughter (my grandma Elsa) was only 4 years old, so not even my grandma remembers Romania. Raquel wrote back to say thanks and that she was asking around for this information because KBYU was going to be starting a new TV series called The Generations Project about searching out our ancestors. Raquel said that choosing future candidates for the 13 episodes would be a process of elimination. She and her research team would begin looking deeper into the lives of our family members and if they hit any brick walls or if they didn't find anything interesting enough for TV, we'd be out.

A few weeks later Raquel called me to say that she needed to build more of a story from my desire to know more about Romania. She asked what I would specifically want to know about Romania if I had the chance, so I told her I'd want to know how she handled knowing how she had cancer and how she lived the end of her life. What was her personality like? Was she upbeat and lived every day to its fullest? If she so sick that she couldn't do anything, how did she handle it? Raquel was direct and let me know that when it comes to finding out an ancestor's feelings, it's usually really tough to research. But she said they would give it a shot.

We brainstormed some more ideas over the phone, and then Raquel asked me about a surgery I had had while we were roommates in 2005. At that blessed time I was having my third colonoscopy to remove precancerous polyps. Back then when Raquel was my roommate, she hadn't known why I had to go to the hospital or what was happening, but once I explained my health situation she instantly saw the connection to Romania and the direction for the episode. If I hadn't had my first colonoscopy at the age of 22, the doctors said that I would've lived to be about 30 years old, around the age of Romania when she died. But because of a few miracles in detecting the polyps and even more miracles in living in the 21st century, I am alive, free of colon cancer, although I still have to get frequent colonoscopies. (But hopefully because of this show that will change.) If Romania had been born when I was, she most likely would've survived her leukemia. That connection between my great-grandma and me is the heart of the story. And from there Raquel dug deeper and hit everything but brick walls. She found Romania—the strong-willed, creative, determined woman who was loved by everyone she met.

When all is said and done about The Generations Project, I gained a friend. A hilarious woman who will forever be my age and who loves to laugh heartily, fill her sketch book with future creations, have fun in every moment, jump in the mud in her high heels and try to get the boys to join her. She was determined and knew who she was and what she wanted in life. She was close to God and loved her family. In finding Romania I've found more of myself.

The Generations Project will air nationally on KBYU in January (Sorry. Not October anymore. Plans changed for a better purpose) via cable, and you can also watch it on the Internet through the BYU TV site if you don't have cable or live in Australia. I'll get more details to you guys when air time gets closer. Filming this TV show was a journey for me to not only come to know Romania, my great-grandma, but also for me to better understand myself and my own genes. My journey is really just beginning. I'm still learning so much about Romania through reading her journals and looking through her idea books. She cut out pictures from magazines to give her ideas for drawing and making things like hats and map shades and sketches. In regards to my genes, I have appointments yet to come with doctors and the genetic counselor Vickie I met in filming the show. I'm due for another colonoscopy within the next couple months, but this time the Huntsman Cancer Institute is going to do extra research on me to get to the bottom of my polyps (no punn intended). Can't wait! I'm almost excited for this next colonoscopy.

This last picture is one of my favorites of Romania (she's on the left). I'd never seen any of these pictures until a month ago when we started filming. I love how happy Romania looks, and I wouldn't be surprised if she pushed her good friend Willard Marriott in the lake as soon as this picture was taken, almost toppling the boat. Mr. Marriott is the guy in the picture. And after pushing him in, she probably jumped in too. That's my guess. I can't wait to meet her some day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Make the Conditions Serve You

"To put away aimlessness and weakness, and to begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment, who make all conditions serve them, and who think strongly, attempt fearlessly, and accomplish masterfully." James Allen.

I underlined this passage of As A Man Thinketh when I first read this book 6 years ago. Purpose. When we know what we want and we won't take no for an answer, we can turn the components of any situation around to serve us—bow down, literally. I've experienced it! There's such a drastic difference between our actions when we have direction and when we're lost. And our being either directionless or somewhere-bound has a distinct affect on the people around us. Have you ever talked to someone who knows where they're going in life and they're not annoying about it? Somehow that desire seeps inside of us and makes us actually want to figure out where we're going too. Maybe we don't want to get left behind. Maybe we've just forgotten what it's like to be excited about life and needed someone to remind us how it goes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back to the Blog

Did I forget to mention I'm back? It's been an 8-month sabbatical of self-discovery and canned food. Plenty of you have been asking about what really went on when filming The Generations Project episode, so that's top on my list to write about . . . after I finish this lengthy dissertation edit that's demanding all my attention. So stand by! It's about to get good, really good.

i'm gonna miss this little girl

Brad and Chels move to Washington on the 13th of this month, and they're taking their children with them. What kind of mean trick is that, huh? Emma is as independent and lively as ever and baby Jude is adorable and so peaceful compared to his big sis. He just sleeps or squirms or opens one eye at you. Emma turns two in September. I'm not sure what we're going to do with ourselves once they're gone. And Nate leaves for Cape Coast, Ghana for a two-year LDS mission the week after Brad and Chels leave. That's half our family right there just gone. That's why Izzy needs to have puppies quick!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Because I Love to Blog

Because I love to blog, I am going to keep blogging.

Tonight I came across a site called Etsy, which promotes upcycling by selling trashion ( Basically, someone with creative gusto turns something ready for the bin into something uniquely stylish and cool. I love it! I found out about this through my wonderfully amazing Dinner at Your Door authors, who graciously gave me a necklace made by an eco-friendly artist named Millie Hilgert (, who is based out of Boise. Because I love my necklace so much, I am going to post a picture of it in the morning. Isn't this inspiring? I can definitely see many of you creating all kinds of beautiful works of jewelry art like this! Get busy. Life is too short for only dreaming. (I hope that lit the fire under you.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to James and Marlene in Cairo

Since we all miss James and Marlene, whether they be our aunt and uncle, grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, brother and sister, or son and daughter, all of the Lindsays wanted to say hi and that we love and miss you! Here are some pictures and videos from our crazy Christmas party Saturday night at Julia's.